Autumn on Lake Audobon

Autumn on Lake Audobon
Autumn on Lake Audubon, Photo by Alison Kamat

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Will Governor announce "substantial completion" of Silver Line Phase 1--or NOT?

UPDATE:  Another alternative reason for the meeting with MWAA may be the signing of the final agreement between Virginia and MWAA to use the $300 million the state agreed to spend on Phase 2 of the Silver Line.  A lot of moving parts; stay tuned.  

WTOP reports that Virginia Governor Terry McAulliffe will meet with MWAA officials about the Silver line today.
WASHINGTON -- Gov. Terry McAuliffe is looking for more details about Northern Virginia's long-delayed Silver Line at a meeting with leaders of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Tuesday.
The agency is responsible for building both phases of the rail project that will eventually connect downtown D.C., Tysons Corner and Dulles International Airport.
The meeting comes nearly three weeks after the contractor building the first phase of the project to Wiehle-Reston East Station said for a second time that Phase 1 is "substantially complete."
MWAA representatives rejected the initial claim of substantial completion in February after multiple problems were found, including flaws with a communication link and a potential fire hazard with hundreds of new speakers. . .
An announcement on whether DTP (Bechtel and sub-contractors) have actually achieved "substantial completion" as claimed by DTP is days overdue.  It is hard to tell whether the delay is due to lining up all the political ducks in a row so that a fancy public announcement can be made, which is likely the case with the Guv in the area, or the beginning of an inquisition of MWAA and DTP because they failed to meet basic benchmarks in building the line.

We strongly suspect that an announcement of "substantial completion" will be forthcoming today, complete with photo op and great stories about achieving this goal only nine months late.  On the other hand, we also suspect that the announcement will not include the number of caveats and conditions that underlie this announcementl,starting with the fact that it will take another 2 years and $2 million to get the RTUs to work right (maybe) and the speaker & wiring systems have not yet been replaced as required from the last failed "substantial completion" attempt.

We suspect that "substantial completion" is no longer about meeting basic engineering standards; it is about a political deal.  Do you want to ride on a rail line approved by politicians rather than engineers?

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